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5 Ways to Retain Top Hospitality Talent


Hospitality companies are waking up to a reinvigorated labor force. Corporate culture and the workplace environment have changed significantly in recent years and their evolution reflects a continuing shift in employee needs and wants. With the industry’s unemployment rate near its lowest in a decade (5.3% as of November 2018), organizations must ensure they are not only attracting the best talent to meet their needs, but keeping current employees happy and in place.

With more than 79 million millennials in the U.S. alone, this diverse group makes up the largest workforce segment. As this generation begins to fully immerse itself into the hospitality space, brands need to rethink the old “9 to 5” or “8 to 6” mentality. While many companies look to latte machines and foosball tables to satisfy millennials, the truth is that many of these workers are seeking deeper connections to the brands they work for.

Millennials want to know their job fulfills a purpose greater than simply earning a paycheck. They are more likely to seek out companies with established CSR programs designed to give back to the community through causes aligned with the brand mission. Many even draw a direct correlation between companies that regularly support their communities and their employees.

Here are our top 5 tips:  

  1. First impressions matter – During the interview process, the applicant isn’t the only one who needs to sell themselves. Since employees are no longer clocking in for just a paycheck, hospitality companies need to ensure their core values, culture and benefits are highlighted during the interview process, giving the candidate a feel for the company.
  2. Keep your team engaged – When staff is happy, they produce better results. Aim to establish a culture in which employees are the focus. According to a Fidelity Investments survey, millennials admit they would take an average yearly pay cut of $7,600 if they could improve their “quality of work life.” In the hospitality business, you are expected to deliver world-class customer service. To make sure that happens, you must first take care of your people. To ensure employees feel engaged, those in managerial positions can take small steps such as getting to know their employees or keeping them updated on how the company is performing to help foster a sense of community and support.
  3. Make role expectations clear – Be transparent. Provide a list of responsibilities so employees can truly understand what is expected of them. If changes are made to a position, do not assume the team will hear about it through the grapevine. Communicate directly with team members when needs have shifted. Happy workers want to do the best they can for their team and having clear goals will help. When your people do a great job, reward it! While performance bonuses are always welcome, personal recognition for a job well done can be perceived as even more meaningful. Calling out employees who have reached a goal or exceeded at a task makes them feel appreciated for the work they have done, which, in turn, makes them want to work even harder for your business.
  4. Provide opportunities for growth – Knowing there are opportunities for career advancement helps to create exceptional results. In fact, 67 percent of millennials would leave a job if the company lacked growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development. Consider offering a variety of educational and mentorship programs and establishing a process to provide real-time feedback or coaching that helps employees achieve their goals.
  5. Give back! – According to a Cone Communications survey, 64 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, while the same percentage won’t take a job if an organization doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values. While not all companies have the same ideals, determine what your brand is passionate about from a “do-good” perspective and promote it. This will help show potential candidates that you are passionate about more than profits.

Along with these tips, an effective hiring process goes a long way in making sure any hospitality team is retaining the right talent for the job. Once the appropriate candidates are hired, creating a great employee experience will help reduce turnover and, in the end, produce better work and experiences for your customers.  


Joyce Lee


About the Author

Joyce Lee, Chief Cultural Officer & President at Alorica  oversees development and execution of programs, activities and events that keep Alorica’s 100,000+ employees engaged and inspired to deliver insanely great customer experiences. During her tenure, she has spearheaded programs that drives a culture of connection, creativity, commitment—and fun. Joyce is also Founder and President of Making Lives Better with Alorica (MLBA), a non-profit dedicated to providing assistance to Alorica employees, their families and the people, organizations and communities who support them.

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